Published: Wednesday 15 October 1997

The country plans to curb emissions of highly toxic dioxin from general-waste incinerators, industrial-waste burners and electric-steel making furnaces. Nearly 12,000 facilities are expected to come under the purview of Japan's first serious attempt to cut dioxin emissions. The regulations would be effective from December 1, 1997.

Last week, a decision was taken to amend air pollution and waste disposal regulations. By taking concrete measures, the country would be able to reduce dioxin emissions by nearly 90 per cent in next five years, says an environment agency.

Dioxin that is produced due to imperfect combustion of plastic materials, is mostly emitted into the air. Japan would set criteria taking into account the processing capacity levels of the facilities. The revised rules would force new incinerators to emit less than 0.1 to 5 nanograms of dioxin per cu m of exhaust.

The government initiative to amend the legislation is intended to broaden the coverage of emissions control and curb emissions at the source. The majority of dioxin ingested by humans come from food and marine products. According to figures, nearly 5.3 kg of dioxin are released into the air every year in Japan. Of these industrial waste incinerators account for nearly 80 per cent and electric-steelmaking furnaces about 10 per cent.

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